S3 E9

“…the ancient mythologies, the ancient texts, including the Vedas and the Bibles- are really cosmologies. They are telling us the stories of our anatomy and physiology and how we mimic the cycles of the cosmos. And how the stories of the stars are quite literally alive within us.”  -Melanie Weller, Co-Lead Educator of Neuro Somatic Intelligence Certification, Vagus Nerve Expert

Do you have a connection to something greater than yourself? 

When was the last time you experienced the feeling of awe?

Think you’re an empath? 

Almost all ancient spiritual traditions used nervous system regulation tools. That’s right, working with your nervous system is not new. If you’ve ever prayed, used a rosary or mala, chanted or sang with spiritual intention, you were regulating your nervous system. 

This episode takes you on a journey exploring the pivotal role that regulating the nervous system plays in expanding our capacity for a nourishing spiritual practice and expanding consciousness with Melanie Weller. She’s sharing her ethereal expertise about the intersection of cosmology, astrology, the vagus nerve, Presence, awe and the nervous system. If you’ve ever dipped your toe into spirituality, this conversation will be a revelation. 

We’re sharing our personal stories too, like we always do. Elisabeth shares how daily Neuro Somatic Intelligence training expands her capacity for spiritual experiences. Jennifer reflects on the new experience she recently had with Wayne Dyer’s teachings about intentions after years of rewiring her neural patterns with NSI. She, also, reveals a cool and unusual way she’s combining her cosmology with creative self-expression. And Melanie shares the best advice she received as a young Physical Therapist.

Noteworthy Segments:

  • Melanie explains how our bodies mirror the zodiac- outside of our cells and within our cells
  • How ancient spiritual traditions translate into science
  • What Karma really is
  • Vital role the thalamus plays in intuitive abilities
  • How developing a secure attachment schema is key to the loneliness epidemic 
  • Why feeling awe is very good for your nervous system and spirituality 
  • Why the ability to be fully Present is the most important part of whatever healing modality you’re using
  • Melanie simplifies the concept of being an empath 
  • Critical role nature and your environment has on your nervous system
  • How to tell if your spiritual practice is expansive or limiting

We hope you enjoy this conversation about the role regulation of the nervous system plays in expanding consciousness and deepening our spiritual experience. 

Listen to more episodes of Trauma Rewired HERE


Elisabeth: Today we are going to discuss the relationship to something larger than ourselves, to the divine, to spirituality and how that impacts our nervous system and our relationships. Not just how it impacts our nervous system, but also how the state of our nervous system and having the tools to regulate and work with our nervous system to increases our capacity impacts our ability to have a spiritual practice, to do things like meditate, to expand our life and expand our consciousness because we have the resilience and the capacity in our nervous system by working with it daily and intentionally to train it.

So we are joined again by Co-Lead Educator in the Neuro Somatic Intelligence training, Melanie Weller. She is also a Vagus Nerve Expert and studies cosmology in the body and how that impacts our nervous system. So welcome back, Melanie’s. Good to have you, as always.

Melanie: Thank you. I am so excited to be here. I love chatting with you. I feel like when we’re together outside of the podcast, we should be recording because we have such great discussions. 

Jennifer: I could not agree more on that, Melanie, I’m so excited that you’re here. Melanie, do you wanna open us up? I always think about in ancient traditions and ancient systems that there’s always a story or a proverb that says- we are made of stars.

Melanie: Yes. Every spiritual tradition, or at least a lot of them and the oldest ones, have some kind of ‘as above, so below’ maxim. As I’ve studied this more- the ancient mythologies, the ancient texts, including the Vedas and the Bibles- are really cosmologies. They are telling us the stories of our anatomy and physiology and how we mimic the cycles of the cosmos. And how the stories of the stars are quite literally alive within us.

The techniques that go with them- whether that’s prayer, rosaries, malas, chanting, mantra, singing or even twirling their movements- are all nervous system regulation techniques done in the spirit of the tradition in order to help you advance in more deeply embody your relationship with your understanding of the divine.

My personal passion within all of this is how our bodies quite literally mimic the zodiac in geometry and archetypal shape both outside of the cell and within our cells. To get there, any evolution that we aspire to experience for ourselves starts with nervous system regulation.

Elisabeth: Yeah, I really feel that. I feel that as I have been able to work with my nervous system it has allowed me to have this foundation where I can explore more spiritual practices in a way that I’m really Present for it. And in a way that it actually changes and impacts my behavior because I have now the tools to be embodied.

I have the tools to be able to sit still in meditation. I have the tools to really be Present for the things that I’m practicing. I got sober at an early age, I was 24 years old. A part of that getting sober process is exploring spirituality and going through practicing meditation every day and seeking to be of service.

I had all of these practices. And yet I also still often found myself stuck in cycles of overworking and exerting and exhausting. I was binge eating. I was still very dysregulated. I had pretty harmful relationship patterns. A lot of my addictive behaviors, that I know now are my nervous system doing the best that I could to keep me regulated and to self soothe when I didn’t have other tools- I couldn’t get out of those. 

Even in my spiritual practices it was really hard and sometimes harmful for me to try to sit still in meditation and calm my mind. Sometimes I would end up in a flashback. I just didn’t have a lot of capacity then to really feel connected in the practices that I was doing. And to really then have those practices change my life in the way that I saw my behavior and my life and my relationships change, because I was still in such a deeply dysregulated nervous system state with so many unprocessed emotions and so many consequences of that.

Then as I’ve begun to work with my nervous system over the years, as my capacity expands, especially to be Present and embodied, now I do these same practices and it’s a very different experience and the results in my life are very different.

Melanie: Yes. I’ll say my favorite change that spiritual practice especially- and this has been shown in long-term meditators- that you end up with a thalamus, which is a part of your brain that’s in the center and it’s very important in your perception of reality or whatever your reality is. In long-term, meditators your thalamus is asymmetric. One side is much bigger than the other. It is like you can hold two different realities. And you can have that ability to step back and see things through a bigger lens to zoom out and have that third person perspective that we might call mindfulness. Or to not be immediately reactive and reflexive about whatever’s happening in front of you. And it allows you to be more intuitive. It allows you to be grounded. It allows you to take cues from your environment more accurately and to see signs in the universe, or the way the universe might be talking to you, and follow those breadcrumbs to maybe where spirit, or where the universe might be taking you. 

Then also I think to not necessarily be dismissive of things, you really have a relationship with the universe and a relationship with your environment. And that lack of relationship is core to what philosophers and now scientists, because there’s research behind it now called Species Loneliness. When you don’t have that relationship with the bigger picture, it leaves this deep unnamed sadness. I really believe, and the research is starting to catch up, that this underlies addiction and mental health. We know we have a loneliness epidemic right now. And being connected with each other isn’t filling the gap, it’s not solving the problem. We have to be connected within ourselves and connected beyond ourselves. 

The story of the Gemini twins taps into this because in astrology it’s associated with the lungs. And in Chinese medicine the lungs are associated with grief. In the story, one of them is mortal and one is immortal. When the mortal one dies, the immortal one asks Zeus to figure out a way that they could be together. Our deepest longing is for our mortal relationship with our immortal self.

Jennifer: Wow, I have so many notes! Elisabeth, you spoke about Presence and embodiment. I think NSI is what’s really given me the safety to, number one, be in my body at its fullness, in its full capacity to experience it all and to connect with that which is greater than us.

In the opening conversation that we had, Elisabeth spoke to the electrical subconscious signals that we’re always sending out and that does not include or leave out spirit and ancestors and the what and who we communicate with when we are in the stillness of ourselves and when we are being spirit.

There’s also the idea that we are spirit. We are spirit that is inhabiting a human body and with that comes a greater responsibility to just this human body. So it reminded me of this light bulb moment recently. Actually, I think it parallels the work that you do as well, Melanie. Prior to the work that I do now and the life that I live, I had always dipped my foot into spiritual teachings and spiritual sciences. But I had a real light bulb moment recently when I revisited the work of Wayne Dyer and The Power of Intention. We talk about intention a lot within the NSI framework, we train specific areas of the brain. We’re working with specific sensory inputs. We are really rewiring patterns and neural networks. So intention really comes into focus. So I thought, let me revisit this and I had a completely different experience with his teachings. I was able to absorb the information. Not only was I able to absorb it and integrate it, I was able to put it into action without it being overwhelming. It completely made sense. It was resonant. 

The real difference in me was that I have been doing all of this NSI work. I’m saying that back to you as well because we’ve known each other for a few years now, I’ve been listening to you talk about Cosmos in the body and some of the work that you do. It wasn’t until a recent visit when you were here that I got a very deep and clear understanding of what you’re referencing. You are referencing something very ancient, but there’s actual other scripts and books that you cite. There is science behind the Gemini in the body, the Taurus in the body, and how this is all connected. 

Also, I think it’s very exciting that you have the citing and the references for it because this is truth. I think to have these greater perspectives, like you were talking about earlier, it shifts in consciousness. The regulation in our nervous system leads to higher shifts in consciousness.

Melanie: Oh, absolutely. I think that even if the shift in consciousness that you’re looking for, that bigger relationship you’re looking for, if you don’t like the word spirit or God or universe or anything like that, the hard science facts of it is that experiencing awe is very good for our nervous systems. Whether you’re gonna sit at the beach and look at the ocean, or climb a mountain and look at the view, or experience the vastness of the universe and the smallness of yourself in relationship to that is very, very good for your nervous system.

All spiritual traditions, as I’ve researched it, can be translated into science. They just wrote their science differently than we write it nowadays. So they were really telling the stories of how blood flows through the heart and how fundamentally stress affects our nervous system. Astrology fundamentally tells you the biases of your nervous system, how the stars inform your nervous system at your first breath. That’s fundamentally what astrology is telling you, and it’s telling you the biases based on that information.

We know the sun is information, but we have so little dark sky areas left in the world we do not get that the stars are information too. The planets are information that the moon is information. I have a lemon tree in my backyard and at New Moons and Full Moons, it changes every single time. Like the blooms are different than when the lemons are on there. There’s a distinct change in the color. We have really lost this connection to information. There’s a little bit of science that’s really starting to connect this that when solar and space weather disrupt the electromagnetic field of the earth, it’s measurable in our vagus nerves. And the extent to which it’s measurable depends on the strength of our interpersonal connections. Basically, the more regulated and more connected we are, the less disruptive it is. 

Elisabeth: That’s really interesting to think about because, when we teach about having a lifestyle that’s conducive to nervous system health, we do talk a lot about early morning light and setting your bio rhythms with the sun. And making sure that you’re not getting blue light at night so that that doesn’t disrupt your sleep cycle.

So there is a lot. Like you were saying, we have the information about the sun and getting that light and understanding how that impacts our nervous system and our health and our sleep cycles. But there is so much less talk about the other energies and the other natural elements- the stars, the moon, and the impact that those have on us.

[00:24:43] I also was really thinking a moment ago as you were talking about loneliness and how there’s a deep need for connection. Not just to one another, but also within ourselves and then to something greater. There are many studies looking at the cost of loneliness and its effects on our health and how it can be extremely detrimental to our health to not have the social support that we need.

But I was thinking about ‘how we are anywhere, is how we are everywhere’. And what a big role attachment style can play in our ability to connect to all things- to other people, but also to ourselves and to something greater than ourselves. If I have that disorganized attachment, distrust, hypervigilance, it’s also very difficult for me to surrender and trust and open myself to an experience of the larger forces in life.

So for me, a lot of that has had to come, just like you were saying, through moments of awe and nature. And leaning into the trust of walking barefoot and being supported by the earth and having a much more gentle and abstract construct of spirituality. Because when there is too much structure around it, I tend to go into that skeptical, hypervigilant, disconnected place. And it can’t remind me too much of other relational patterns because that just doesn’t feel safe sometimes.

Melanie: Absolutely. It’s this kind of false idol that spirituality can even be dissected. It is not meant to be academic, it is meant to be experienced. It really ties in with the NSI N=1 philosophy. It is your experience, your relationship, and it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. It is your body and what works for you. Your discovery process can be very different than somebody else’s discovery process for all spiritual traditions. 

The reason that there’s often this air of secrecy around them or that they’re mystery traditions is because when you try to understand them without experiencing them, it sets up all sorts of misunderstandings and sets you up for ridicule, for getting lost in translation. What we would call now getting canceled. I love this quote from Carl Jung where he said once that ‘the function of religion is to protect us from the experience of God.’

Every ancient tradition, and even the Bible in its earliest forms, teaches that the answer is within. It’s your tradition and your experience and your journey. So many of the principles that go with any of them are just different ways of saying things have existed in modern science for a long time.

Karma is just the law of equal and opposite reaction. That’s all, it’s cause and effect. That’s all Karma is. But when you can regulate your nervous system, what I’ve seen, is that your karma gets worked out more softly. That you can evolve more smoothly and with less conflict and contrast. Contrast is really the rule of the nervous system. Cuz at the end of the day, neurons fire or they don’t. We are really wired for story. The same neurotransmitter sequence that we need for change is the same one a good story takes us through. But being able to hold the contrast without having it wreck your nervous system is the art of consciousness. 

Jennifer: I love that we’re talking about how these practices with spirituality and with ourselves, that we are meant to be experienced as well. That without nervous system regulation, for my own story, I couldn’t have experienced my own awe-ness. And I think a lot of people can’t, because they’re not attuned to themselves.

When you’re not attuned to yourself, it’s hard to attune to the outer world in a way that you can experience its truths in all of the ways that that is revealed to you. Just like you were talking about contrast and karma. We have to experience the contrast to know what we don’t want sometimes too, especially when we’re in these different healing cycles that we go through when we’re talking about patterns and behaviors.

Sometimes you’ve got to throw yourself into the pattern to know, oh my gosh, I’m here again and this is exactly what I do not want to be part of, but I have the tools to change my behavior, to change this thought, to change this belief. And that karma that you talk with about being in the conflict, the conflict often turns back inward though. And is the conflict internally in the body leading more to the stress that we all know  is so dangerous.

Melanie: We know that stress causes something like 75 to 90% of all disease and dysfunction depending on which study you read. And we don’t talk really in depth about what stress is. We might talk about telomere length and we might talk about, oh well you need to meditate or that your heart rate variability is off. But really stress is your response to the story that’s happening around you and within you. I always say that we have this internal expression of our physical narrative and we have an external expression of it too.

When our story outside of us and the story inside of us don’t match, it’s really stressful. We call that high contrast trauma, when the inside and outside are at the extremes. That is very traumatic to the nervous system. When you can start to regulate your nervous system enough to have a different relationship with it, to see that it’s had purpose or meaning or that it launched you into a new way of being, demanded that you have better boundaries, set you on a different life path then you can really embody it in a way that’s not so dissonant.

Viktor Frankl is well known for, in the midst of concentration camps in Nazi Germany, putting it together that giving meaning to your trauma makes it not so disruptive to the rest of your life.

Jennifer: (laughing) Hello, Trauma Rewired. Enter this podcast.

Elisabeth: Totally. One of my absolute favorite quotes by Peter Levine is about how trauma is hell on earth, but trauma transformed is a catalyst for awakening, for the expansion of consciousness. There is a way to utilize these experiences to serve not only our own consciousness expansion, but collectively in the world.

I do think that that’s something that’s happening in the world right now. As you were talking about that internal experience, absolutely. It makes so much sense. If we’re living in a state where the threat is really high where our amygdala is very reactive to many things. Our thalamus doesn’t want a lot of sensory input coming in before we leave the room in dissociation. We’re moving through the world like that then we have very limited capacity to have the contrast. To have the deep and meaningful moments of Presence that we are seeking. And even sometimes when we do have those experiences, they’re overwhelming to the system because we don’t have the capacity for it. It creates really big internal chaos. I think Jennifer and I touched about this a little bit in the Presence episode, but you hear all these things that are really good for your health, for your nervous system health, for your stress reduction, like meditation, like going to the sauna, whatever it is. And what is key there is- what is your internal state while you are doing those things? Are you in a state of hypervigilance and high stress? Does it stress you out more to sit still and try to not move your body and just focus on one point? Is there a way to assess and reassess how that is really impacting your unique nervous system?

Also to work with your nervous system to increase the capacity to be able to do those things in a way where you are really Present- doing the thing, having the experience, like you said- not just thinking about it. But experiencing it, doing it without dissociation or racing thoughts or panic or whatever it is that’s actually pulling you out of it. That being a necessary requirement to getting the results of these practices is that we are actually there, we’re Present, we’re in our body. And what state is going on inside of our body as we’re doing these things. How do we work with our nervous system to change that state to make these things really impactful?

[00:44:40] Melanie: Absolutely. It’s very obvious where having a lot of trauma and having high contrast is very stressful and dysregulating. Then there’s often a clearer path to seeking regulation. 

But when you live in a stressful environment that’s maybe that I might call subclinical, that’s sort of mildly traumatic, but you’re there every moment of every day. Then sometimes the need for it isn’t as clear. Or you might start identifying as an empath or you might have really great intuitive skills. 

I’ve ran in circles with some of the most amazing mediums in the whole world and there’s a lot of trauma and dissociation there. Yet your intuition is so much cleaner and clearer when you’re able to be Present and in your body than when you’re constantly dissociating and astral traveling or going out of your body to get the information. When you are the clear channel, you just give people better information. You can really give them information that matters, that’s really from a grounded space. 

I think sometimes we reward at least the label of an empath. Sometimes that’s a dysregulated state or that’s an indication of dysregulation. When you don’t have boundaries and you’re feeling everybody else’s feelings, that’s a problem. That is not a sustainable way to walk through the world. You don’t have to do that. You can be empathic and have boundaries. 

I know that the best advice I got was when I was a young physical therapist. I didn’t understand anything about energy or why this happened, but whenever I treated somebody for headaches, I could touch their head and I would get their headache in the exact same spots that they had it. And they would feel amazing, because I took it from them. I didn’t understand this, didn’t know why. And vertigo sometimes, this happened with Vertigo too. I had to be very careful treating people with Vertigo. One of my mentors at the time said, ‘Melanie, pain is a personal problem. They have it. You don’t. You’re just a stepping stone on their way. And you help them best when you have that boundary with them, when you’re not taking on their problem.’

When you’re in a profession where you’re helping people all day long, whether that’s medical or coaching or giving readings of some kind, it can be really draining if you don’t know where you end and somebody else begins. And to get there, it’s just nervous system regulation. Nervous system regulation techniques are not new to the world, but we live in a different world now where we’re saturated with technology and electrical fields and distractions and unnatural light and things. 

The more precise a technique can be, the more well-dosed it can be, the more effective it’s gonna be. We can absolutely do the ancient techniques, they’re amazing. And we can bring in new ones. We can make those changes happen faster and smoother and more meaningfully and with a lot less mental gymnastics.

Jennifer: To speak to that mental gymnastics, when we are Present in the body, we are allowing for the correct mechanical things to be happening in the brain. We’re laying down the memory of what we’re taking in so we’re able to absorb it. You’re actually able to hear what is being said to you or what’s being taught to you. And go into spirituality without it being a form of escapism, which can often happen in bypassing like, oh, I’ll just go over here and do this with spirit or work with this consciousness or this old teaching. I’ll just bypass it in my body. That gets very harmful and eventually could lead back to the stress that’s not really ever being resolved in the body. 

I also wanted to share something back to Melanie’s work and learning so much about things being in the bone and how cosmology lives in our body, because I do find that so fascinating. And Melanie was here reading my chart recently and only those closest to me are really gonna know this next part.

So this’ll be a big reveal to people to know that I am moving into making jewelry and art with animal bones. It’s been a journey to get to even this part, to even say this. This acceptance really is interesting because a few months ago I discovered that I had a subconscious belief that my creativity was coming from a block that said that creativity wasn’t safe.

It’s a recently rewired belief from 2009 when I was taken in Turkey. It was key information for me to be having, because I’ve been sitting on this project of the jewelry and the animal bones for two years almost I’m going into this journey. And haven’t been able to pull the plug and didn’t really understand why until recently.

So I’ve been also feeling this emptiness and void from not finding a creative outlet. Like it was really getting painful for me inside. So when Melanie came and she read my chart. She said that my Pluto lives in my creative house. And it was like, oh, boom. That’s pretty cool. And that I’m a Capricorn Moon and Capricorn rules the bones. When all of that was said to me it really gave me a huge push to rewire that subconscious belief and that block that I was having because I know how important creativity is to me. But to hear that it lives in my chart, this lives in my body. This is just part of who I am and it doesn’t have to be purposeful in any other way as far as how it feeds the outside world. This is something that is really for me and that narrative got rewired. 

In 2009 I got kidnapped, a month after I graduated with a fine arts degree. So I’d been collecting all this material and sitting on it for a long time. It’s NSI that really helped me with that full narrative and I’ve been able to move it at a pretty solid pace. I only discovered this narrative 3 months ago and I’m now in the process of purchasing things. The project is underway. As I’m entering this new season of my life, I get to experience a different level of curiosity and joy and reconnection that feels more purposeful in my spiritual path.

Melanie: I love hearing that story, Jennifer. Yes, with your Capricorn moon,  Capricorn rules the bones and bones are your spiritual food.

Jennifer: It is just so neat the way it all shows up.

Melanie: It always is. I think everybody should know where their moon is in both their Western and Vedic astrology chart, because your moon is how you best nourish yourself. There’s more to nourishment than food. It can be creativity, it can be travel, it can be groups, it can be habits, but knowing can be relationships.

We all need some of all of it. We all need a very well-rounded diet of all the different kinds of nutrition in life. I also love your story because certainly in Buddhism with non-attachment, and the tantrics, always their goal is to really be free of all limitations, especially of the limitations of the personality.

I love how in NSI we talk about how your personality is really just a nervous system output. I would say it’s biased by your astrology at some level, but you’re not at the mercy of your personality. It’s just an identity that you’ve created. And if you wanna leverage it in a different direction- the more regulated you get, the more choice you have to have a different output of your personality and not be flighty or not overactive or not be angry or not be sad, or whatever those different personality traits- that we have the opportunity to create new pathways for different outputs. Our egos really are like who we are right now and your spiritual awakening, whether you call it your Kundalini or your future vision of yourself, makes us who we will become. And your nervous system really holds your future. 

Scientists now are using voice to predict disease diseases of all kinds. They live in your voice before they show up in your body in any way, shape or form. So your future lives in your voice, which is innervated by your vagus nerve. Your future lives in your nervous system and your ability to change your future, whether that’s through manifesting, hard work, vision boards, spirituality, Feng Shui, red folders, or whatever techniques that you’re using- that all happens through your nervous system.

Elisabeth: I love this conversation so much. It feels so expansive. Especially hearing your story, Jennifer, of stepping into really full self-expression. This ability to live in the world as you are, in all your creativity and all your truth. To be aligned, to have aligned relationships. Really thinking about how a lot of trauma from an early age especially, can just wire the system for protection over connection and connection to others, connection to bigger things and also in a way that really limits, like Melanie was talking about, just limits us from all those things that we deeply desire. It brings us into this personality of: I’m just I’m wired this way and I’m just not a spiritual person. Or I just can’t meditate or I don’t like to sit still. I’m always someone who likes to do, do, do all the time. I mean, that was me for a lot of my life.

From a Neuro Somatic Intelligence perspective, there are no personality traits. They are just the reactions. Sometimes there are reactions that fire over and over and over again because they’re well worn pathways, they’re very myelinated. Those are go-to protective responses of our nervous system.

And as I’ve been able to re-regulate my nervous system and to be able to modulate so that I can flow between states of rest and activity in a better, healthier way- I’m different. I have the capacity to do the wild and fun and crazy things that do help me to experience spirit and connection. Whether that’s like Jennifer through animal bones and making jewelry or, for me, it has like a lot of time for playing out in nature and walking around. I climb trees now some mornings and I’ll walk around in the water. As a kid, I used to love to do that stuff, I would go out into the creek and play and play trees. I never made time for that stuff in my life before and it didn’t seem possible. It didn’t seem possible. And now, with regulation, I have the mental space to be there and to allow myself those things and to feel that connection.

It’s really interesting as someone who has sought self-improvement and spiritual growth all of my life to really understand- I just couldn’t get there. It just didn’t feel safe to slow down. It didn’t feel safe to be Present. 

Jennifer: I’m glad you brought up nature because I think it’s really a disservice to talk about source and spirit and ‘the something greater than us’ that connects us and then to not talk about nature. When I know I’ve hit my maximum- like I’ve done my drills, I’ve done my emotional releases and I am looking to come back to my sense of who I am- I go to the water, I go outside. I spend time with myself in nature. 

There was a time in my life, like Elisabeth was saying, felt so resonant that I just I didn’t slow down enough to feel the water when I entered it. To understand that there are ancient codes in this water, that these trees have been here for hundreds of years. There’s so much life and power and energy to be a part of. There’s so much wisdom to connect to and it’s literally right outside. 

For me too, it’s what makes it so important for me to have my home set up in that way- to walk outside and I have my garden space where things are growing. There’s an ecosystem out there. I can talk to caterpillars and lizards. I’m living an experience with nature now that I can really co-regulate to and with and learn from. And really see the magic that exists with us and learn about life and death.

Melanie: It is, yes. The importance of the environment in terms of nervous system regulation cannot be… I think that’s certainly the next frontier of NSI. That’s something I’m really passionate about because to demand regulation in a continually dysregulating environment is challenging, it’s not equitable. I don’t think everybody needs to have our level of expertise to achieve nervous system regulation. 

I think other ancient practices like Feng Shui are methods of nervous system regulation. The energy of cosmology, like my Feng Shui expert says, you don’t have to believe in Feng Shui. It just is. You can either work with the energy or not. Your life can be hard or it could be easier. You can do the things that make the energy flow easier through your personal environment so that it’s not creating high levels of contrast or whatever it creates. It starts to soften the karma. It softens the contrast and that you could take not even Feng Shui principles, but just principles in terms of how you can rewire the brain for shame, for example. Take a classroom full of high risk kids and decorate the classroom, arrange the things on a wall in a way that demands their eyes move in ways that start to rewire shame in their bodies. I think we can really take this in some super exciting directions that are based in very good science. 

I live in the city. I don’t get to look at the horizon very often and I know that’s a huge part of why my own vision deteriorated over time. I’m working to recover that. It’s even challenging for me to go access a forest or vertical terrain cause I live in New Orleans. It’s very flat. So the inputs I get are just different. 

A walk in the forest is a beautiful way to regulate your nervous system because you’re getting so much sensory input and you’re looking at things visually in different ways that you just don’t when you live in the city or when you stay in your suburban house. It just doesn’t exist as much. So sometimes you have to bring the forest to you and that’s really one of the things that NSI can do for people.

Elisabeth: Yeah, I was thinking that as you were speaking and also thinking about how you were talking before about how we just live in a very dysregulating world, just the nature of our society. Looking at screens all of the time, all of the distraction, all of the artificial light, the separation between people, we have much less in-person social connection. All of these things. Limited movement. And how it is like all of these ancient practices and natural practices are beautiful and wonderful and have their place. And not everybody has access to all of that. Sometimes we need a little bit more because of the way that our world is- we need time every day to work with our nervous system intentionally because our bodies and our nervous systems and our brains are undergoing a lot of different types of things that are not conducive to optimal nervous system health.

So it is really important to be able to make time and have a practice to intentionally work with the nervous system in a way that maybe when life wasn’t so disruptive. I wish it wasn’t that way. And it just is. It is the way that the world is. 

When you were talking about all the practices, I thought of- Jennifer and I say on here a lot of times- do all the things just also have a practice of working to train your nervous system. So that you have the capacity to do all the things and have a framework, a Neuro Somatic framework, so that you understand the language of the nervous system. And you can know: Am I doing this in the right dose for myself to create positive change? Is this even a practice that my nervous system responds well to? Have enough understanding of your own operating system to gauge what is really moving you forward in a positive direction as you start to cultivate those practices and then have a practice.

Then there are so many great ways to work with your nervous system for health and to expand your spirituality and your relationships. Just also work with your nervous system.

Melanie: Absolutely. When I teach and speak on Fearless Presence, for me  fearless presence is that ability to be fully expressed. Just like Jennifer making your jewelry, that’s fundamentally what Fearless Presence is. You get there by bringing the internal and external data together by aligning that. And that is a practice that is a daily thing that you do.

Nervous system regulation, you can get there a number of ways. I would say nervous system regulation is a much more efficient way of getting there than maybe some other ways might be. Knowing how to dose your body and how to make it safe. Life is always gonna hand you a cup of coffee that you didn’t think you ordered. You’re always gonna get something that surprises you and shocks you and is dysregulating. It’s going to happen. But you can always have your Fearless Presence. You can always have your nervous system tools so that then you can move through that in a way that you did not have the capacity to move through it previously. Ultimately then you become your own guru.

Jennifer: I was just about to say, whoever you go to as a practitioner, whatever modality you choose- you are the medicine. You are the one that does the work to make the changes to live the new life. It’s your nervous system. And it’s your responsibility too. We’re only here to really support you and guide you in ways that are incredibly expansive, like every practitioner is here to do.

Melanie: I’m gonna make one comment about the harm of the spiritual community, because certainly there’s plenty of spiritual predatory behavior out there. It’s been going around for millennia, it’s not new. 

The difference between something that is limiting and something that is expansive- is when you hold God, or your spiritual leader perhaps or your guru, in an authoritarian perspective then you are activating your fear responses. You’re activating your amygdala and that’s not advancing your spiritual growth when it’s rooted in fear. When you’re in a place of connection and compassion and understanding and tolerance- that’s the part of the brain that neuroscientists call the heart of your neurological soul. That’s where amazing spiritual experiences happen, and you cannot get there if you are constantly in a fear response, if you’re constantly in a state of friend versus foe. You get there when you realize how we’re all connected and how even the people that you disagree with the most, that there’s something that they can teach you and there’s some part of you in them that you need to learn that they’re showing up in your life and you’re getting angry and irritated about it, because it’s what you need for your own spiritual evolution.

Jennifer: That concept of the other person in your life being the mirror and reflection of what you need to heal, does not come from a place of dysregulation. You have got to be regulated to realize your responsibility in what is playing out in your 3D reality, whether that’s through people or through actions or experiences. You have a massive role in how you experience the world and all of that lives in your nervous system. 

Melanie: Absolutely, absolutely. Spiritual journey is the journey from your amygdala to your anterior cingulate cortex.

Jennifer: From the router to the tutor. (laughing)

Elisabeth: I just wanna say if you are a spiritual coach or a practitioner that is hearing a lot in this conversation about how having a Neuro Somatic Intelligence framework or practical actionable tools to help your clients stay regulated so that they have more capacity to to grow spiritually, to seek, to explore with curiosity and to be more self-expressed. Then join us at neurosomaticintelligence.com. You can find out more information about our coaching certification. We are enrolling now for the fall cohort and the link for that will be in the show notes. You can join me and Melanie and Matt Bush, and Jennifer who is a facilitator. We would love to tell you more about the program.